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What does it take to have Eliyahu Hanavi reveal himself to someone? There are people today who know the whole Talmud Bavli baal peh with Rashi and Tosfos and the whole Tanach and Mishnayos baal peh, People who have learned Talmud Bavli many times with most of the mephorshim, and people who know a lot of Kabbalah, Mussar, etc. and Eliyahu has not revealed himself to them.

Some of those people are also experts in Halacha. They take on many fasts and sleep in the local Beis Midrash on a bench with a wooden pillow. They learn all day lishma and bisimcha and are meticulous about avoiding influences from the outside world.

How could some of these people not merit the revelation of Eliyahu Hanavi? What more do they have to do? Could it be that some people will never be able to experience this kind of revelation, no matter how much they have perfected themselves?

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    is there a guarantee anywhere that a person who's learned/accomplished this much automatically has a gilyu eliyahu? anyway we can chalk it up to yeridas hadoros – הנער הזה Jul 3 '14 at 4:08
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    I heard a chassidish story that a Rebbe said that if someone eats only raw grain and rolls in the snow every day for a month he'll get to see Eliyahu. A chosid did this, but didn't see Eliyahu. He asked his Rebbe what happened, and the Rebbe showed him a horse: "what does it eat?" "raw grain". "see how it rolls in the snow? why doesn't it get giluy Eliyahu?" "Rabbi, because it's a horse." "Exactly" (I don't mean that this story is relevant to you, sorry, I just really wanted to share it) – הנער הזה Jul 3 '14 at 4:12
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    The gemara (Eruvin 13b) states: וכל הבורח מן הגדולה גדולה מחזרת אחריו. The story goes that a man once lamented before a rav: "All my life I ran away from honor, and it still hasn't caught up to me!" The rav responded: "That's because you were looking over your shoulder." (R' Forsythe quotes a similar comment by the Chafetz Chaim here). The point is that one's goal should be truly lishmah, and one should not expect revelation from Eliyahu. – Fred Jul 3 '14 at 6:22
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    Further, Eliyahu sometimes appears to people in disguise, and they are not aware that they have in fact met Eliyahu (see, for example, Tosafos on Ta'anis 20b, s.v. נזדמן) regarding Rabbi Elazar b. R' Shimon [or R' Shimon b. Elazar in the version in Derech Eretz, Pirkei Ben Azai 2:1]). – Fred Jul 3 '14 at 6:28
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I suggest you go through the book Shaarei Kedusha which outlines in detail the steps needed for spiritual hasaga, especially first half of part 1 and part 3 and 4.

He says there in the introduction:

And for us, halevai (would that it were) that we would merit a little Ruach HaKodesh such as a revelation of Eliyahu HaNavi (Elijah the prophet), which many merited to see him as is well known, or for a revelation from the souls of tzadikim (righteous people who died), as mentioned many times in the book of tikunim. And not only that but even in our times I have seen holy men who merited all these things...The fourth part on the practice of yichudim (unifying holy names) through which one will attain Ruach HaKodesh as I have personally tried, tested and verified the truth of them.

Also worthwhile is working on simcha and being content with one's lot, which the person seems to be lacking.

(as brought down in shaarei kedusha gate 1):

A constant simcha (joy) in his portion, because "everything that is done from heaven is for the good." And also to motivate oneself to be with absolute joy in doing the service of his Creator as it is written "I am joyful in Your commandments like one who finds a great treasure" (Tehilim 119:162)

The Arizal is said to have gained all his levels mainly through tremendous simcha.

see also this audio by Rabbi Yaakov Hillel http://ohr.edu/audio/17Tammuz5766/R.%20Yaakov%20Hillel%20-%201001.mp3 where he brings down some of the conditions, for example "if you have the slightest kapeda (irritation) or anger, you will come crashing down..."

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Maybe the reason is that there is still some imperfection. Heshbon Nefesh to the very depths may reveal something. Correct that, and if Eliyahu does not appear, repeat process. That is the striving to perfection, striving to holiness that is the Jewish philosophy, with the understanding that that perfection is unattainable.

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Seeing the question only after it was edited it seems to me like a fine question.
I am only answering the end of your question why some holy people have not seen Eliyahu, not the beginning where you ask what it takes. There is a common saying that I will apply here, "Those who see him don't say and those who say didn't see him". (There may be exceptions that a godol will tell it over for a necessity). In other words a person who merits to see Eliyahu will certainly be on such a high level that his modesty would not allow him to speak about it as this will appear boastful. That said, I think there is a false premise in the question that you would know about it if someone saw Eliyahu, I think that is entirely not true, rather they have just not told about it.
Regarding your return to the question, if someone is wondering about himself, "why have I not seen Eliyahu am I not on the level?", I would explain that seeing Eliyahu is some degree of a miracle being that it is not a natural experience. So, unless there is a special reason and purpose for someone to see Eliyahu then no matter what level he is on, Hashem wont reveal Eliyahu to him for no purpose because Hashem doesnt create miracles for nothing. So if you think you are on the level and that it would be good for you spiritually, to see Eliyahu, perhaps Hashem feels otherwise that it isn't right for you. There may be nothing more to do, it just isn't the right time or maybe this itself is a test to see how your Emunah stands up in the face of disappointment.

  • This is what it looked like before. I point it out because it may (or may not) motivate you to change your answer a bit regarding the idea that the person may have experienced it and isn't talking. – Yishai Jul 3 '14 at 19:08
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    @Yishai Yes, I see what you mean. My answer is addressing the question as it is now. I guess to the person asking what more can I do to see Eliyahu, I can't answer that there is anything specific (because I don't know myself) other than to better oneself. The end of my answer that not everyone has to Eliyahu does partially address the question by saying that there may be nothing to do, it just isn't the right time or maybe this itself is a test to see how your Emunah stands up in the face of disappointment. I edited the answer a bit. – marc-rib Jul 3 '14 at 19:23

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